Gorodets, Nizhny Novgorod Oblast

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Coordinates: 56°39′N 43°29′E / 56.650°N 43.483°E / 56.650; 43.483

Coat of arms of Gorodets

Gorodets (Russian: Городе́ц) is a town and the administrative center of Gorodetsky District of Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, Russia, located on the left bank of the Volga River, 53 kilometers (33 mi) northwest of Nizhny Novgorod. Population: 30,658 (2010 Census);[1] 32,442 (2002 Census);[2] 34,210 (1989 Census);[3] 34,000 (1970).

In the past, the town was also sometimes referred to as Gorodets-Radilov (Городе́ц-Ради́лов), or simply Radilov.


A monument to Alexander Nevsky

Gorodets was founded in 1152 by Prince Yury Dolgoruky (also the founder of Moscow) as a large fortress on the Volga River, the first Russian fortress in today's Nizhny Novgorod Oblast. It was a starting point for numerous campaigns of the princes of Vladimir and Suzdal against Volga Bulgaria. In 1216, Yury II of Vladimir was dethroned by his brother and exiled here. In 1239, the town was burnt to the ground by Batu Khan's army. Folk tradition identifies Gorodets with Little Kitezh, a legendary town destroyed by the Mongols.

In 1263, Alexander Nevsky died in Gorodets on his way back to Novgorod from the Golden Horde. His son, Andrew III, made the town his chief residence. A famous medieval icon-painter, Prokhor, was born there. In the mid-14th century, the town was overshadowed by the neighbouring Nizhny Novgorod but continued as the third largest town of Nizhny Novgorod Principality until 1408, when Edigu razed it to the ground.

Revolution Quay

For two following centuries the town was known as Gorodets Pustoy (i.e., "Gorodets the Empty"). Some chronicles state that its entire population moved slightly downstream and resettled at Salt-on-Gorodets (today's Balakhna). By the 19th century, Gorodets was revived as a prosperous village settled by Old Believer merchants and reputed for its decorative handicrafts, such as wood carving and painting.

In 1875, the Nizhny Novgorod writer A. S. Gatsisky described Gorodets as a major center of trade in grain and wooden kitchenware.[4]

In 1922, Gorodets becomes a town again, as well the administrative center of Gorodetsky Uyezd (later, Gorodetsky District). Between 1948 and 1959, the dam of Gorky Hydroelectric Station (now Nizhny Novgorod Hydroelectric Station) was built a few kilometers upstream from Gorodets, and along with the station a new industrial town, Zavolzhye, was built on the right side of the Volga.


Our Lady of Kazan Church in Gorodets

The chief historic monuments of Gorodets—the Trinity Cathedral (1644), St. Nicholas Church (1672), and Feodorovsky Monastery, associated with the famous icon of the same name—were destroyed by the Communists. The oldest surviving structure is a rather plain church (1707–1712), built over the site of an earlier church where the town's best known ruler, Andrew III, was interred in 1304.

There are several museums in the town, including: the Gingerbread Museum and the Samovar Museum; the latter housing a large collection of tea kettles.

Economy and transportation[edit]

Besides sharing the Nizhny Novgorod Hydroelectric Station with Zavolzhye, Gorodets has a shipbuilding industry. Traditional local crafts — woodworking, embroidery, honey bread baking — are still pursued in Gorodets, but in a more industrial way, at several local factories, whose products are available at souvenir shops all over the country.

The electric railroad branch from Nizhny Novgorod ends in Zavolzhye; but there is a road connection over the hydro dam, which provides the only fixed crossing across the Volga between Nizhny Novgorod and Kineshma.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года. Том 1" [2010 All-Russian Population Census, vol. 1]. Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года (2010 All-Russia Population Census) (in Russian). Federal State Statistics Service. 2011. Retrieved June 29, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Численность населения России, субъектов Российской Федерации в составе федеральных округов, районов, городских поселений, сельских населённых пунктов – районных центров и сельских населённых пунктов с населением 3 тысячи и более человек" [Population of Russia, its federal districts, federal subjects, districts, urban localities, rural localities—administrative centers, and rural localities with population of over 3,000]. Всероссийская перепись населения 2002 года (All-Russia Population Census of 2002) (in Russian). Federal State Statistics Service. May 21, 2004. Retrieved February 9, 2012. 
  3. ^ Demoscope Weekly (1989). "Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 г. Численность наличного населения союзных и автономных республик, автономных областей и округов, краёв, областей, районов, городских поселений и сёл-райцентров." [All Union Population Census of 1989. Present population of union and autonomous republics, autonomous oblasts and okrugs, krais, oblasts, districts, urban settlements, and villages serving as district administrative centers]. Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 года (All-Union Population Census of 1989) (in Russian). Institute of Demographics of the State University—Higher School of Economics. Retrieved February 9, 2012. 
  4. ^ A Guide to Nizhny Novgorod and Nizhny Novgorod Fair Alexander Gatsisky, 1875. (Russian)